Specters of the Deep Developer Diary (formerly Hour of Need)

So excited to see another story from you! I decided to play through the first chapter without reading the summary and was very pleasantly surprised by the premise. I love stories of tired and reluctant heroes and it looks like that might well be a direction I can go in with this character. Big fan of Senna btw, only known them for a few pages but they seem a delight cx Definitely looking forward to playing more in the future and seeing what happens next.

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Thank you, I’m glad you’re enjoying! Senna uses they/them, by the way.


Whoop, thanks for pointing that out! Fixed =D

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I am so hoping for some acknowledgement of this. Even just an interior thought along the lines of “didn’t I help out in your last hour of need? Can’t it be someone else’s turn now?”


Wow, this feels fast. Stars Arisen was released not so long ago, so I wasn’t expecting to hear about a new project anytime soon. Thanks for letting us be a part of the development process again!

I look forward to seeing what you’re going to do with the premise. Right now it seems like not only the kingdom itself changed significantly while we were away, but also the attitudes of the people. I wonder what our new acquaintances have to say about the spell that kept us going in our final battle, especially Senna.

I could see the MC as a no-nonsense, self-sacrificing hero who creeps the others out a bit with their absolute devotion to the cause.


You certanly got us in a teaser, what u got so far is very interisting, personaly i d like to see the devolepment of this wip into a book


Hello! Chapter 3 has been submitted to my editor, which means I’ve now updated the demo to include Chapter 2. The new chapter will allow you to have any idea at all what’s going on in the present day in the game, which means I can talk about it a little more without spoilers. (Not about everything. But some things.)

A few more specific content warnings for this chapter: the body weirdness and ghost stuff comes into play more here. Also, there are references to widespread severe environmental disasters and drowning, not detailed or in first person.

Also, as a side note, the choice about how you address the royals is something I added later on, so it’s possible I missed a few places where the text should change to reflect what you call them. If you choose to address the royals more formally but your character is still calling them by name, that’s something I want to know about so I can fix. (I’m talking about the PC’s dialogue specifically - the narration does just call them by name, and that’s not an error.)


Huh, that went into a different direction than I expected after the first chapter. Lots of characters, lots of issues (interpersonal and otherwise) to resolve.

It did take me a while to figure out how exactly Alek, Iris and Frey were related and how all the little plot pieces that revolve around that fit into place. I had to play the chapter twice to get all the implications straight. The tripartite marriage actually was a small stumbling block for me, but I really got lost during the conversation with Frey about the queen’s murder, which introduces yet another family and their relations. This might be just me, but perhaps that’s a bit much information for one chapter?

There is a lot of information to parcel out, yeah. To some extent that’s an intentional feeling - your PC is also dealing with a lot of completely new information and adjustments to their worldview. That’s part of the reason why the glossary is there (and possibly a reason I should have it update more frequently, I’ve just been avoiding that because it seems annoying to do).


I’ve been having a hard time finding picrews/dollmakers to make the characters in this time around, because the characters have a number of fairly distinctive features that most sites don’t include. I had some luck with this one at Bright's Picrew Hell|Picrew, though - the art style is a little more cartoony than I necessarily have in mind with this game, but it had most of what I’m looking for. (Character appearances frequently shift slightly in my mind, so don’t take these as 100% canon forever. Also, ignore the clothes - one thing this picrew didn’t have is very much historical-type clothing, so this is a mix of trying to approximate something they’d actually wear, trying to decide what they might wear in modern times, and just panicking and putting something on them.)






This one is a secret for now, but you may be able to guess who it is (post chapter 3, will confirm that this is Vesper):


Chapter 3 is up in the demo now! You get to learn more about the plot in the present day, and also interact more with the characters.

I’m not thinking of any particular content warnings for this chapter aside from the ones that apply to the whole game (there’s ongoing Ghost Weirdness). One thing I do want to note is that we’ve reached the point where you may find some future plot spoilers if you look at the code. I don’t mind if you do that - just please don’t post about anything you’ve discovered or guessed solely from the code without spoiler tags.

I’d still particularly appreciate it if anyone notices any places where the PC is calling the royals by name after having chosen not to do that. (It’s only an error in the PC’s actual dialogue, not in the narration.)

Would love to hear what you think!

Also, as a bonus, here is an Aina, wearing what the dollmaker probably intends as a spacesuit but I have decided to pretend is an old-timey diving suit:


Chapter 4 is up! Diplomacy, festivals, early romance scenes, the ocean is haunted.

New content warnings:

  • In general, getting into more horror content. I am entirely serious about the ocean being haunted.
  • An NPC becomes distressed and abruptly ends a romance scene. The reasons why are not consent-related but are not clarified in the moment.

  • More plot-spoilery than the above, and also more difficult to warn for: violence against animals and animal death are not exact descriptions of what happens, but it’s close enough that they feel like appropriate warnings. Also, shark attack, but the sharks aren’t responsible for it.

Chapters 4 and 5 (which is finished, but not yet up in the demo) are ones I’m really excited about. Would love to hear what people think, or if there’s anything else you’d like me to post about here! I don’t tend to give super granular updates on my writing progress because they make me self-conscious, but I’m happy to discuss other things about the game and answer any questions.


This was an enjoyable update! Now I am really intrigued about the eye. Can’t wait to learn more!

Some code i found:

Oh also I am always curious about chracters’ names and why authors choose them if you dont mind answering :slight_smile:

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Thank you! Just uploaded a fix for that.

The names for characters from Jarda are mostly vaguely Scandinavian, the ones from Nochalle are more German, and the ones from Wallstor are English, but all without much linguistic rigor or consistency. For the most part they’re just names I liked the sound of rather than chosen for any particular meaning, though sometimes I’d start by searching for a vaguely relevant meaning and go from there. The dragon names are celestial or meteorological terms generally also chosen to be cool-sounding more than deeply meaningful, but I think that’s also how the dragons pick them in-universe - they’re more for human convenience than something the dragons tend to strongly identify with.

The most interesting name-related fun fact I have is also a spoiler for the end of chapter 4: in addition to Cecilia Anker and Aina Caldwell having opposite initials, Cecilia comes from a word meaning “blind” and Aina can mean “sight” in at least one language. Anker does in fact mean “anchor” and Caldwell can refer to a spring, stream, or well. Not as direct a connection as blind/sight, but both intended to be water-related. Not an in-universe thing Cecilia did on purpose, the characters don’t actually speak real-world languages, just a fun thing for me.


Chapter 5 is now up! It uses the new ChoiceScript checkpoints, which means it’s now an HTML file instead of a Dashingdon link. The file is linked in the first post - you just need to download and open it to run the game in your browser. It will still save your progress when you leave the browser. Let me know if there are any issues! (I promise it’s safe to download.)

New content warnings:

  • There’s a lot of depths-of-the-ocean stuff in chapter 5, as a general note.
  • Drowning/near-drowning (ultimately non-fatal) (okay there are also some fatal ones, but not described in any detail)
  • Eldritch horror, probably? I’m not great at genre subdivisions, but it’s that kind of thing.
  • In general, things are going into weirder territory, so if you see something you think I should be warning for that I haven’t included, let me know.

Some additional notes about this update:

  • As above, this now uses the new ChoiceScript checkpoint system instead of the old manually-created one, which means it can do some new things. At the ends of chapters, or at any time from the stats page, you can now return to the start of any previous chapter.
  • I’ve made some adjustments to the text of earlier chapters in order to better set things up for the future. Not going to list exactly what’s been changed because a) it’s a lot of small things and b) clarifying what I did and why could be a little spoilery in itself in terms of what it’s foreshadowing (more for chapter 6 and future stuff than chapter 5). But if something seems different, it probably is, and it’s probably worth reading again.
  • In previous drafts, I’ve been stripping certain things out of the code for this version of the game in order to limit the spoilers available by code-diving, but we’ve reached the point where I largely can’t do that anymore without breaking things, so there are some larger spoilers visible in the code from the beginning now. (I’m talking about chapter 5 reveals, not just the Aina thing from chapter 4.)
  • There’s some feedback I’ve received and haven’t incorporated yet - I tend to focus more on moving forward while writing the game and then make more edits at the end. So I’m saving things for the future, not ignoring them.

Let me know what you think! This chapter delves into some things that I think some people have been wondering about since the beginning of the game.

Also, let me know if there’s anything in particular you’d like me to post here about the game! I know I tend to go a while between updates, but I’d love to help keep the thread more active.


Thank you for the early Christmas present! I was hoping for something like this.

Chapter 5 is everything I was hoping for. The stakes are rising and the MC gets to do something heroic. Also, Iris is precious and no harm will come to her on my watch.

And it was interesting what you said about Cecilia’s name in one of your previous posts. Now I feel it’s really fitting that my MC’s surname is “Brand”.


Abby, I demand that in the next update you allow me to slap the snot out of Iris for being THAT RECKLESS!

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I mean, you can certainly chastise her. I think slapping people is an option I offer fairly rarely, on the whole.

Also, no matter what, at the beginning of chapter 6 she hasn’t been released from the hospital (very minor future spoiler), so you might not have the moral high ground in that exchange.

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I know, I’m going through a second playthrough of the update and I still just want to shake her until her teeth rattle for that stupid stunt. Yeah, her heart was in the right place. And luckily for her not exploded all over the inside of her chest and sloshing around by what’s left of the rest of her internal organs. Or, you know, crushed under a rock or fallen building due to the earthquakes that have been constantly happening!

We are sort of getting spoilery here.